Friday, November 16, 2012

How Do You Know Economic Policy is Turning an Advanced Economy Into a Basket Case?

Well the Return of Malaria as a Health Threat is One Clue

There are people in leadership positions in Europe that think the policy being forced on Greece is working.  No, no one knows who these people are, but they must exist.  How else could Europeans in Germany and other  countries live with themselves after knowing what they have inflicted on the Greek people. 

The latest news is that malaria, disease that has largely disappeared from advanced economies has returned to Greece

Over the past two years, more than 50 endemic cases of the mosquito-borne parasitic illness and more than 100 imported cases have been identified in Greece. No one has died yet, but the disease can be debilitating and recur for years.

Wait a minute, health care in Greece has always been very good, a great system.  Oh, not any more.

The return of malaria, a scourge in developing countries, to Greece is a disturbing indicator of the nation's decline since it crashed in 2009 under the weight of a debt binge. Since then, Greece has seen decades of advances in public health rolled back, as a flood of illegal immigrants, a dysfunctional government and budget cuts ravage a once proud health-care system.

And yes, the policies that are allowing malaria to recur are not just dangerous, they are stupid,

Even as alarms sounded, Greece's spiraling economic crisis was taking its toll on the country's public-health services. To help meet debtors' demands, the government has slashed local-government budgets by 60% over the past three years as it saddled local governments with more health-care responsibilities.

Provincial governments, which used to help control malaria by aerial spraying of insecticides to kill mosquito larvae, were abolished in 2011, leaving it unclear who would take over. Amid the cutbacks, few local governments made it a priority.

Because the costs of treating the disease and its impact on the economy are far greater than the cost of prevention, even a person unschooled in economics would know this is a stupid policy.   But then, none of that apparently matters to European officials safely ensconced in their malaria free offices with their abundant state provided health care.

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